Posts tagged ‘Alma Rosa’

Nov 2, 2012 to Nov 4, 2012

 

 

2008 Villa Creek Willow Creek Cuvée – $29.75

 

My comments

Villa Creek holds the number 1 position in my cellar with 85 bottles, 84 as soon as this one opens.  I love the very nice and varied blends coming out of their Paso Robles winery.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage. The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water. In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache. They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly dark ruby color.  The sexy nose has blackberries, minerals, cherries, dried herbs, vanilla, earthy underbrush, smoke, licorice, and fresh wild flowers.  This is medium to full bodied with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  Ripe, earthy, spicy fruit dominate the palate with dried herbs and just a touch of dark chocolate adding nice depth.  The nice acidity and tannins hold the wine together very nicely on the palate.  The finish is fairly long with a very nice mixture of the fruit and savory elements.  Very tasty today, but this will last in the cellar for several years.  (93 pts)

Label tears courtesy of my VinoTemp which doesn’t like the slightly larger bottles.

 

 

 

1988 Schloss Schönborn Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese – $34.81

 

My comments

A German Reisling with some (24 yrs is some, right?) cellar age is one of my greatest wine pleasures.  The sugary sweetness transforms into more of a richness in the wine as it melds with the acidity.  I can’t have enough of these wines in my cellar.

 

Winery history

Since the 12th century, the Counts von Schönborn have been part of the Rhenish knightage. Around 1349 their vineyards in Winkel in the Rheingau were registered documentary for the first time. Until the middle of the 17th century, the Counts von Schönborn were living in their area of origin in the Rheingau and in the Taunus. During this time, many vineyards were purchased in Rheingau boundaries. As of the middle of the 17th century, the brothers Johann Philipp and Philipp Erwein von Schönborn laid the foundation stone for the material prosperity and cultural wealth of the family.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright, golden yellow color.  The very pleasing nose has petrol, apples, white peaches, honey, minerals, citrus zest, lime, and some white pepper.  This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and nice sweetness.  Very rich and smooth on the palate with most of the overt sugar having been incorporated into the magical elixir.  The wine has a long, lingering finish full of peach, apples, honey, minerals, and lime.  This actually still tastes young.  (94 pts)

 

 

 

2005 Miller Wine Works Syrah Sage Canyon Vineyard – $17.99

 

My comments

I love a deep, dark syrah that highlights the non fruity aspects of the grape.  I consider this to be the polar opposite of the fruit bomb style of syrahs made in some parts of the wine world.

 

Winery history

Growing up in rural New YorkState, simple, fresh, homegrown food was an everyday experience. Our meats, milk, bread, fruit, and vegetables were from local farms. Many of my earliest memories are the tastes and smells of my mother’s kitchen – bread, Christmas cookies, apple pies, smoked ham, and Thanksgiving turkey. Just picked, juicy, finger-staining huckleberries were hard work, but memorable.

 

My first cooking job was a humble, short-order lunch cook but I was hooked. After attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, I took advantage of numerous culinary opportunities at world class restaurants in White Sulphur Springs, Chicago and Aspen.

 

I always considered winemaking to be “cooking”. Through my entire time as a chef, I wanted to work with the flavors, textures, and aromas of grapes from the California coast. Finally I took the plunge and moved to NapaValley.

 

NapaValley is an amazing place, but not just for its history, natural beauty, and perfect conditions for winegrowing. The people are truly amazing, placing a premium on food, family, friends, and farming.

 

As a winemaker, it is my intent to make balanced, nuanced wines that speak clearly of their locations, and have affinity for carefully raised and prepared food.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a very dark maroon, almost black color.  The deep, dark, brooding nose features dark chocolate, smoked meat, blackberries, black pepper, dried herbs, A1 steak sauce, smoky embers, and some earthiness.  The wine fairly full bodied and has solid, ripe tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows some nice fruit but the savory elements are the stars.  Loads of charred, smoked meat, pepper, and dark chocolate take center stage.  The finish is fairly long with the dark chocolate and meaty elements slowly fading.  A really nice bottle of wine, in my opinion.  (90 pts)

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Petite Sirah Yorkville Highlands – $30.50

 

My comments

I’ve been a big fan of Carlisle for several years.  I still have a few bottles in the cellar from as far back as the 2003 vintage.  Mike Officer puts out a very high quality product at very consumer friendly prices.  This is why it is now next to impossible to get onto the mailing list.  A friend recently, after a few years on the waiting list, was offered a few bottles of wine.  If you have patience, check out the website and get on the waiting list, down the road you will be happy you did.

 

Winery history

We are a small SonomaCounty winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah). We have also recently added our first whites, both blends from historic, old-vine vineyards. While we like our wines to be bold and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and nuance. Our goal is always the same – grow and source outstanding fruit, do as little as possible to it, and bottle outstanding, pleasurable wine.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, inky maroon color.  The very open and inviting nose has blackberries, cracked black peppercorns, road tar, blueberries, camphor, minerals, licorice, dried flowers, dark chocolate, and some earthiness.  The wine is full bodied with solid tannins and very nice acidity.  In my opinion the wine is still too young, and needs a few more years in the cellar.  This is still a bit ragged on the palate with scratchy oak and chalky tannins.  The finish is clipped when the tannins kick in.  The wine has all the necessary components for a long life but patience will be required.  (88 pts, potential to 92 down the road)

 

 

 

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Santa Rita Hills – $4.75

 

My comments

This was on a super blow out sale at the local store.  I don’t know why there were still available after having been released at least a few years ago.  I didn’t have high expectations in a six year old, appellation Pinot Blanc, but had to try it out.  We sampled a bottle right off the shelf at room temperature.  I was blown away!  It still tasted young and fresh.  I grabbed six bottles, now it’s time to try one at the proper serving temperature from a good stem, at home.  It’s a perfect time to open one since the dish we’re making for dinner requires 2/3 cup of a dry white wine.

 

Winery history

Richard Sanford came to the Santa Ynez Valley 40 years ago with the desire to create wines that would rival the best of France.  First to recognize the potential of the Santa Rita Hills (now an officially accredited American Viticultural Area as Sta. Rita Hills), and first to plant Pinot Noir vines there, Richard is a pioneer with a well established reputation for excellence in winemaking.

 

Working in partnership for more than 30 years, Thekla and Richard Sanford founded multiple, successful winegrowing enterprises.  Their latest venture, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, represents the culmination of a lifetime’s experience – an enterprise dedicated to creating high quality wines and setting a benchmark for organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods, and environment-friendly commerce.

 

The winery, owned by Richard Sanford, dubbed the father of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and the first to plant the vine there, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 27.

 

After nearly a half-century of ups and downs in the wine business, Sanford admitted that he’d rather be riding off into the sunset than trying to save the family farm.  “It is true that I have been doing this for 44 years, and Thekla and I were looking forward to having some quiet time,” said Sanford.  “But that’s just not possible yet.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a clear light straw color.  The very light and refreshing nose has apples, lemon curd, minerals, orange zest, spring flowers, and a touch of pineapple.  This is a touch fuller than light body, has crisp, citrusy acidity, and is dry.  Nice apples and flinty minerality greets the palate first followed by bright lemon and orange citrus.  The finish has decent length ending with mouthwatering citrus and minerals.  This tastes young and fresh for a six year old white.  I don’t know what the release price was on this wine, but it was an absolute steal for under $5.  (89 pts)

 

 

 

 

2008 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie’s – $37.14

 

My comments

I have to admit, I bought this wine purely on the basis of a review given by one of the big time professional reviewers.  I’ve eyed the bottle several times over the two years it has been in the cellar.  I think a nice Pinot Noir should pair well with tonight’s dinner, so I finally get to sample it tonight.

 

Winery history

In 1989, Melville Vineyards, a family owned and operated enterprise was founded in SonomaCounty’s KnightsValley, where Ron Melville grew high quality, much sought after Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  In 1996, Ron’s desire to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought Melville Vineyards to Lompoc’s Sta.RitaHills, located in the western Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California.  The Sta.RitaHills appellation is where Ron Melville and his sons Brent and Chad Melville decided to develop their estate vineyards and winery.  Since then, they have also developed an interest in Rhone varietals, particularly Northern Rhone Syrah and Viognier.  The Melville estate achieves quality through the integrity of its farming practice and its respect to the microclimate.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby color.  An intoxicating nose with earthy underbrush, black cherry, raspberry, baking spices, vanilla, melted licorice, and violets.  This has medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity.  Rich and plush on the palate with fantastic, earthy, spicy, fruit that slowly transforms to reveal a new nuance every couple of seconds.  The finish never really seems to dissipate, seemingly lingering forever.   One of the absolute best young California Pinot Noirs I have had the good fortune to enjoy.  Absolutely stunning!  (95 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

Turley Wine Cellars

The offer for the first Turley Cabernet offer couldn’t be ignored, so I ordered a few bottles.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

It was a busy week receiving previously ordered wine.

 

Direct from Bedrock (2 bottles each)

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin’s Lair

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Dolinsek Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Papera Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Saitone Ranch

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock Heritage Wine

 

Direct from Herman Story via friend’s allocation (1 bottle each)

2010 Herman Story Casual Encounters

2010 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts

2010 R.P.F. Wines The Signmaker

 

Winery Samples

2011 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Moscato

2011 One Time Spaceman MCA Rose

2009 One Time Spaceman Moon Duck

 

From local wine store

2009 One Time Spaceman Reserve Airspace James Berry Vineyard (2 bottles)

2009 Cellers Can Blau Montsant Can Blau (6 bottles)

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc SantaRitaHills – Sta.RitaHills (3 bottles)

 

From WineBid

2005 Turley Petite Syrah Hayne Vineyard (2 bottles)

 

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

Oct 22, 2012 to Oct 25, 2012

 

 

 

2007 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard – $14.99

 

My comments

I grabbed a few bottles of this wine at a blow out price of $15, based on the wine’s reputation.  We opened a bottle in January 2011, but it was WAY too oaky for our tastes.  I decided to leave it in the cellar for another year or two to see if the oak would integrate, at least a little.

 

Winery history

Richard Sanford came to the Santa Ynez Valley 40 years ago with the desire to create wines that would rival the best of France.  First to recognize the potential of the Santa Rita Hills (now an officially accredited American Viticultural Area as Sta. Rita Hills), and first to plant Pinot Noir vines there, Richard is a pioneer with a well established reputation for excellence in winemaking.

 

Working in partnership for more than 30 years, Thekla and Richard Sanford founded multiple, successful winegrowing enterprises.  Their latest venture, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, represents the culmination of a lifetime’s experience – an enterprise dedicated to creating high quality wines and setting a benchmark for organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods, and environment-friendly commerce.

 

The winery, owned by Richard Sanford, dubbed the father of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and the first to plant the vine there, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 27.

 

After nearly a half-century of ups and downs in the wine business, Sanford admitted that he’d rather be riding off into the sunset than trying to save the family farm.  “It is true that I have been doing this for 44 years, and Thekla and I were looking forward to having some quiet time,” said Sanford.  “But that’s just not possible yet.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The big and bold nose has cherries, black raspberries, baking spices, cedar, wild flowers, smoke, and some earthy underbrush.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and tart acidity.  Tart cherries hit the palate first, followed by some spices and earthiness before the oak takes over, which it does in a big way.  The finish is fairly long but just about totally oak driven.  If you like oak dominated wine, you’ll like this a lot more than I do.  (86 pts)

 

 

 

2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvée 32” – $17.04

 

My comments

We have visited the AlexanderValley based Trentadue Winery a few times in the past and always had a good time and an even better tasting.  This is a long time favorite wine in my house.  The blend varies each vintage, this one is 49% Sangiovese, 27% Merlot, 8% Montepulciano, 8% Malbec, 7% Petite Sirah, and 1% Syrah.  This wine has enough acidity from the Sangiovese to stand up to dishes with tomatoes but the other grapes lend enough body and oomph to stand up to meat.  We like this wine with everything from pasta with meat sauce to Veal Parmesan and baked ziti.

 

Winery history

The Trentadue family arrived in SonomaCounty long before their region gained a reputation as the Wine Country. Life-long, hands-on agriculturists, Evelyn and Leo Trentadue contributed significantly to the advancement of their region over the years. In 1959, the Trentadues decided to flee the developers encroaching on their apricot and cherry orchards in Sunnyvale, the area known today around the world as Silicon Valley. To preserve their way of life, these hard-working Italian ranchers purchased 208 acres of land in SonomaCounty’s then remote AlexanderValley.

 

See more at:  http://www.trentadue.com/winery/heritage.asp

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to deep garnet color, much lighter at the edge.  On very enticing nose there are cherries, raspberries, earthy underbrush, dried herbs, baking spices, licorice, blackberries, black pepper, and violets.  The wine has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine is full of tart, spicy, fruit with nice earthy elements and some pepper adding depth and complexity.  The finish is fairly long and features tart, juicy cherries, licorice, and some earthiness.  This is a very nice “Super Tuscan” from California.  Tastes fantastic today, but this will last in the cellar for up to five years.  (91 pts)

 

 

 

2007 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County – $17.50

 

My comments

This is one of my all time favorite QPR values.  This is a Zinfandel that is every bit as good as ones that are on shelves at $30 or more, and it cost me well under $20.

 

Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  On the big but civilized nose there are brambly berries, black pepper, dark chocolate, vanilla, licorice, dried herbs, smoke, wild flowers, and a touch of earthiness.  This is medium to full bodied with solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a load of peppery berries with licorice, dried herbs and a bit of earthiness adding depth and complexity.  The finish is long and features the peppery berries.  An incredible wine and an absolute steal for under $20.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2007 Novy Family Wines Grenache Judge Family Vineyard – $19.00

 

My comments

I really like wines from California made with grapes native to France’s RhoneValley.  The thing I most like is what frustrates a lot of people, the variety.  There are soft and fruity wines, full bodied and bold wines, and medium bodied versions full of black pepper and spice.  I like the wines made by Novy because they are usually in the third category, medium bodied and full of spice.  This style is the closest to the styles made in France and also the most food friendly.

 

Winery history

We met Dianna Lee at an in store wine tasting here in the Milwaukee area a couple years ago.  While we talked she mentioned going to college in East Texas.  After talking a bit more, it turned out she was in college about a mile from our house while we were living in Nacogdoches, TX.  We were able to talk about having Margaritas in a local Mexican Restaurant.  There’s a good chance we were all enjoying happy hour together, a few tables apart.  Who knows, maybe La Hacienda closed down because they lost all our business when we moved to Milwaukee and Dianna met Adam and moved to wine country.  Truly a small world.

 

For us, the beauty of making our own wine is the total freedom to do it our way, without compromise. Although it is necessary to be able to adapt to new circumstances with each and every vintage, we have found that these principles hold true year after year.

 

We believe that great wine is made in the vineyard. Only with great grapes can we produce great wines. To this end, we purchase the majority of our fruit by the acre rather than by the ton.

We believe in minimal intervention winemaking that promotes, rather than overshadows the work we do in the vineyard.

Most importantly, we believe that wine should be a pleasure to drink. If you don’t like the way a wine tastes, what’s the point? Novy Family wines are made to be enjoyed with good friends and good food.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light to medium ruby color, much lighter at the edge.  The very interesting and unique nose has raspberries, earthy underbrush, black pepper, dried herbs, baking spices, smoke, licorice, cherries, and a touch of eucalyptus.  This has medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate a nice hit of cherry and raspberry precedes a blast of savory elements including black pepper, dried herbs, and nice earthy notes.   The finish is fairly long and leans towards the savory spectrum with nice cherry and raspberry in the background adding subtle sweetness.  Not a fruit forward, fruit bomb, very food friendly.  I like this a lot and feel it should last in the cellar for another year, maybe two.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

Nice delivery of samples from Elyse for me to review arrived today.  I look forward to sampling them in the next couple of weeks.  The reviews will be in a special edition of Cliff’s Wine Picks.  Selections include 2008 Morisoli Zinfandel, 2010 Barrel SelectNapa Valley Petite Sirah, and the 2007 Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

The Loring e-mail with their non Pinot Noir wine hit and I immediately grabbed several bottles.  My main buys were the Grenache and the Convergence wines.

 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

I received the samples noted above from Elyse, but that is all, so far.  If everything gets delivered tomorrow that is due, I’ll receive wine from Core (WineWoot), Garagiste Wine, and from a new favorite, Ledge.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

If you want me to review your wines, see my Sample Policy or e-mail me at Cliff@CliffsWinePicks.com

 

 

 

Cheers!

Sept 28, 2012 to Sept 30, 2012

 

 

 

2005 Austin Hope Syrah Hope Family Vineyard – $18.99

 

My comments

This has been a “house favorite” since I snagged several bottles at the local store at an end of vintage blow out.  Not a lot of subtlety here, but like I’ve said in the past, some time I like a big, in your face wine, especially on a Friday.  It’s a nice way to help kick into “weekend mode”.

 

Winery history

The Hope family has been farming in Paso Robles for more than 30 years. When they arrived in this barely discovered region, they planted apples and grapes. Little did they know that the rolling, oak-studded terrain of Paso Robles would one day become viticultural terroir of significance and one of the top winegrowing regions for quality red wine within the CentralCoast.

 

Gone are the apple orchards. Today, the Hopes cultivate mature vineyards of the varieties best suited to their area including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Mourvedre and Grenache. Vine density has increased and each vine is asked to produce very little fruit. The terroir of this domain expresses itself in its unique regional character. Regardless of the varieties planted, the expression of Paso Robles is displayed in the glass with spice, licorice and berry in the nose, soft textures and silky tannins on the palate.

 

Hope Family Wines consists of five individual brands: LibertySchool, Treana, Candor, Austin Hope, Troublemaker.

 

 

A fantastic parody of The Office made by the winery is here http://www.youtube.com/v/0_zr4J75_Kk&rel=0&autoplay=1

 

My Tasting Note

This is a deep, dark, ruby to maroon color.  The intoxicating nose has blackberries, cedar, licorice, minerals, black pepper, blueberries, violets, with hints of smoked meat and dark chocolate.  The wine if full bodied with fairly solid, velvety tannins and nice acidity.  There are rich, peppery berries on the palate with some black cherry and dark chocolate adding depth.  The finish is fairly long with the dark chocolate and berries carrying the load.  Not a lot of subtlety but very tasty.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

2006 Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc Santa Rita Hills – $5.00

 

My comments

This was on a super blow out sale at the local store.  Supposedly, this were lost in a warehouse somewhere and recently found.  I didn’t have high expectations in a six year old, appellation Pinot Blanc, but had to try it out.

 

Winery history

Richard Sanford came to the Santa Ynez Valley 40 years ago with the desire to create wines that would rival the best of France. First to recognize the potential of the Santa Rita Hills (now an officially accredited American Viticultural Area as Sta. Rita Hills), and first to plant Pinot Noir vines there, Richard is a pioneer with a well established reputation for excellence in winemaking.

 

Working in partnership for more than 30 years, Thekla and Richard Sanford founded multiple, successful winegrowing enterprises. Their latest venture, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, represents the culmination of a lifetime’s experience – an enterprise dedicated to creating high quality wines and setting a benchmark for organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods, and environment-friendly commerce.

 

The winery, owned by Richard Sanford, dubbed the father of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and the first to plant the vine there, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 27.

 

After nearly a half-century of ups and downs in the wine business, Sanford admitted that he’d rather be riding off into the sunset than trying to save the family farm. “It is true that I have been doing this for 44 years, and Thekla and I were looking forward to having some quiet time,” said Sanford. “But that’s just not possible yet.”

 

My Tasting Note

We sampled the wine at room temperature.  The wine is a light yellow to straw color.  The crisp and fresh smelling nose had lemon curd, apples, orange blossoms, minerals, and with some air a pineapple note came through.  This is light to medium body, dry, and has tart, citrusy, acidity.  This is crisp and clean on the palate with nice fruit and minerals leading the way before lemony acidity kicks in.  Decent length on the finish which again highlights the tart lemons and minerals.  This tastes young, fresh, and vibrant.  I grabbed 6 bottles for $5 each and plan on drinking over the next year.

 

 

 

2010 Villa Creek “White” – $20.80

 

My comments

This is one of our Summer white wines.  I generally split a case between this and the Villa Creek “Pink”.  I feel the wine is good not long after release, but a year in the cellar really gives it the time to open up and taste even better.  I wanted to share a bottle of this with a friend who loves white wines based on the Rhone varietals almost as much as I do.

 

Winery history

In the spirit of the great wine producers of the southern Rhone and the bodegas of Rioja and Priorat, blending is what Villa Creek does best. The area’s finest Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo Vineyards are just a stone’s throw from the west Paso Robles winery where these blends are lovingly produced by winemaker Cris Cherry and his wife JoAnn.

 

The grapes of the area’s most progressive vineyards, James Berry, Denner, Ohana and Booker, currently grace the wines of Villa Creek Cellars. Per acre contracts insure that the fruit comes off the same blocks each vintage. The Cherry’s own 70 acre estate on the west side of Paso Robles boasts elevations of 1400-1800 feet, calcareous soils, south facing slopes and ample water. In the spring of 2012, the Cherry’s finished planting their first grape vines, 3.5 acres of Grenache. They look forward to planting Mourvèdre and Carignan in the months to come.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a pale golden yellow color. This has hot slate like minerals, white peach, pineapple, apple, lemon zest, and a nice floral note on the fresh, like Summer nose. The wine has medium body with nice crisp acidity. Initially rich and smooth on the palate with luscious, juicy fruit and minerals then the citrusy acidity kicks in leading a fairly long, mouthwatering finish. An excellent, California version of a Rhone white from France. This can be enjoyed over the next few years.  (92 pts)

(This note copied from a bottle I had last month)

 

 

 

2008 Field Stone Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – $18.99

 

My comments

This was sampled from a nearly full bottle that had been opened about 20 hours earlier for a tasting, but was not needed.  Only a couple of small tastes had been poured before it was recorked and saved at room temperature.

 

Winery history

Field Stone Winery was founded in 1977 with its own celebrated estate vineyards dating back to 1894.  It is owned and operated by John & Katrina Staten and their family.

 

Praised by visitors for its hospitality and unique rustic beauty, the winery is a fascinating, small, underground facility carved into a picturesque oak knoll in the midst of its rolling vineyards in SonomaCounty’s beautiful AlexanderValley.

 

My Tasting Note

From a bottle that had been opened, sampled, and recorked about 20 hours earlier.  The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The slightly subdued nose has cassis, tobacco, cherries, dried herbs, and a touch of spicy oak.  This is medium bodied with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  Nice spicy fruit and dried herbs on the palate carry through on the medium length finish.  Not the most complex cabernet out there, but a good value for well under $20.  (89 pts)

 

 

Here’s a picture of Field Stone Winery and a one of the wine country view from the winery taken during a visit there a couple years ago.

 

 

 

 

2006 Carlisle Two Acres

 

My comments

This is another bottle I opened to share with a friend.  I also wanted to try a newer vintage after thoroughly enjoying a 2003 earlier in the week.

 

Normally this is where I’d tell you to go to their website and sign up for the mailing list, but not this time.  Unfortunately the Carlisle mailing list is full, the best you could do is get on the waiting list.  The problem with that one is big, the wines are so good and fairly priced, very few people drop off the list.  My best advice is to find someone on the list and beg them to share a bottle or two of their allocation with you.

 

Winery history

Carlisle is a winery that started as a classic “garage winery” for Owner/Winemaker Mike Officer.  His first foray into wine making was making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Over the next several years, with the help of his wife Kendall (Carlisle), and some friends, he produced a barrel of wine each vintage.  During this period, he also has a “real job” as a software developer.  To make a long story short, eventually the software developer title was left in the rear view mirror and Owner/Winemaker became his new title.  I highly recommend checking out the complete story at http://www.carlislewinery.com/about.html

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The ever changing and evolving nose had crushed berries, dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso, roasted meat, tree bark, leather, cherries, and some dried herbs.  This is a medium to full body wine with ripe tannins and good acidity.  There are loads of spicy berries on the palate with nice earthy elements and dried herbs adding complexity.  This has a nice, lingering, long finish which highlights the more savory elements.  Still young but a very nice wine to follow over an evening.  Outstanding.  (94 pts)

 

 

2008 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT

 

My comments

This is our current go to wine when we are having a pizza loaded with chunky meat.  The richness and body stands up nicely to the meat and this has just enough acidity to help cut through the cheese.

 

Winery history

Allegrini is the leading producer in the Valpolicella Classico area and one of the most highly acclaimed wineries in Italy and throughout the world. The family’s roots in Valpolicella date back to the 16th century. Today the winery consists of more than 100 hectares (247 acres) set amongst the rolling hills of the “Classico” appellation. All wines made under the Allegrini label are produced exclusively from these estate vineyards. Through research and experimentation over the years, Allegrini has introduced radical innovations in the vineyards, in the grape drying process and in the cellar, with the objective of enhancing the intrinsic quality of Valpolicella.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The elegant nose has blackberries, plums, smoke, dried herbs, vanilla, black cherries, wild flowers and minerals.  This is medium body with silky, ripe tannins and decent acidity.  There is nice layered fruit, spice, and dried herbs on the palate with just a touch of earthiness in the background.  This has nice length on the finish which shows spicy berries.  Very nice.  (92 pts)

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

 

Rudius

I’ve been on the Rudius mailing list since the beginning.  Rudius is Jeff and Brittany Ames.  Jeff’s name may not ring a bell, but here’s a bit of his bio:

In 2001 Jeff became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor.  Two years later, Jeff was named the head winemaker at Tor, a position he still commands.   Rudius is the culmination of Jeff’s goal of owning his own wine brand.

 

I have purchased a fair amount of Jeff’s wines and every one that I have opened has been outstanding.  I have had several of his cabernets and wines made by the Rhone varietals.  I highly recommend the Rudius mailing list.  More information about Jeff and Brittany, Rudius, and most importantly a link to join the mailing list is available on their site.  Visit http://www.rudiuswines.com/

 

 

McPrice Myers

The newest offer from McPrice Myers hit the inbox today.  I am part of their 6 bottle Wine Club.  This means I will automatically receive two bottles of each 2010 Altas Vinas, 2010 Larner Syrah and 2010 Les Galets Syrah.  Now I have a week and almost 2 weeks to decide if I want to add any more of these or a few library wines the still have in stock.

 

 

Herman Story

I’m not on the Herman Story mailing list, but a friend who is on the list shares some of his allocation with me.  These are big, ripe, bold wines and every once in a while that’s what I get in the mood for.  These wines aren’t for Francophiles.  If my friend wasn’t on the list, I’d join.  If you like that style of wine as much as I do, I highly recommend checking them out, perhaps you can get something from the just released offerings.  Visit http://hermanstorywines.com/ for more information.

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

(4) 2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 NapaValley for $30 a bottle from Elyse Winery

(1) 2009 Trentadue Winery La Storia “Cuvee 32” for $16.90 from local wine store

(1) 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico for $18.59 from local wine store

(2) 2009 Calera Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard for $37.99 from local wine store

(2) 2009 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard for $46.54 from local wine store

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

%d bloggers like this: